Wilderness Walk- 02-20-2013: Hockey Drought Edition

Bruce Bennett

Is it GameDay yet?

A lot of time on our hands, huh?

Three days doesn't exactly feel like a long time normally, but it's been a pretty empty few days for me, puck-wise. But in the leisure, we still have some interesting topics to chew on.

I'm pretty wordy coming up, so let's just get right to it.

Wild News

Young Wild players have thrived vs. Oilers peers | StarTribune.com- A nice preview for tomorrow's game. Best part: Hall, Eberle, Schultz, and Nugent-Hopkins went 1-6 against the Wild's AHL team. HA!

Clothes shopping a necessity for Wild call-ups from Houston | StarTribune.com- This Wild notebook briefly looks at the everyday life of a recent call-up, how the lineup could shake out for Thursday, and Yeo trying to inject more battle into the squad. There's more detail on the lineup/practice on Russo's blog.

Minnesota Wild need goals, and Jason Zucker scores them - TwinCities.com- Praising Jason Zucker's first game is everyone's go-to thing, but man, that goal he scored was impressive. Hopefully Zucker's part of the cure for what ails the Wild, which, more specifically, is their low G/PG and the flu. Also, if Zucker's the cure for the flu, that's pretty sweet, too.

Mikael Granlund Has Earned Minnesota Wild's Patience- Granlund Panic is starting to fade away, and that's a good thing. I am 100% on board with letting him figure it out at this level. He's not James Sheppard- he's got experience playing against men in Finland and the AHL, and has excelled in both leagues. He's got nothing to learn at a lower level.

Should the Minnesota Wild Use Compliance Buyout On Dany Heatley?- No. Won't happen. Never. Putting aside the fact that I think it shouldn't happen, because Dany Heatley still has a place on an NHL scoring line, the Wild won't have cap issues next year. They'll have zero major contracts coming up with their prospects, and Bouchard and Cullen's all-but-assured departures will clear up cap room, not to mention that, at worst (for cap purposes, I'd actually very much like to see this) Niklas Backstrom will be back at a reduced figure. There will be no compelling reason for Chuck Fletcher to set fire to 7.5 million dollars on a guy who is no longer elite, but can still play. And also, this will never happen.

Fan Fuel on Advanced Stats: Wild's Jonas Brodin for Calder trophy - sportsnet.ca- While I will note and defer to the Editorial Stance on Advanced Statistics, I myself am curious about the possibility of better stats in hockey. But more importantly, the need for Brodin to get Calder recognition far outweighs violating our Editorial Stance. Particularly if it means that Justin Schultz doesn't get the Calder.

Matt Cullen: Potential Penguin? - PensBurgh- Some advice: If you think Setoguchi sounds like a James Neal, Jr., then please have your GM trade for him. Nothing against Seto, who probably would succeed playing on a wing with Malkin or Crosby (but even Chris Kunitz does that). Though I would prefer you thinking that Cullen is a James Neal, Jr.

Tending the Fields

The Third Intermission: What's it's all about through the eyes of an 8-year old- A nice piece. I could imagine how frustrating it can be to follow a minor league team, where anyone special will be gone in a year, if not less. Hard to feel too bad, though, when they get to see Coyle, Bulmer, and Phillips develop still.

First Round Bust: Does Bjorn Krupp Actually Exist? Spoiler: He does, but just barely.

Hockey City Classic: Mario Lucia helps Notre Dame past Miami (Ohio) - TwinCities.com- Spoiler: Lucia scored a goal. He has 10 goals and 9 assists in 23 games. Not bad for a freshman, which for context is somewhere in between Zucker's freshman year (40 GP; 23 G; 22 A) and Coyle's (37 GP; 7G; 19 A).

Off the Trail

Breaking down Matt Duchene’s goal that wasn’t in any way illegal, nope, nothing to see here | Backhand Shelf- Hey, look! A Systems Analyst post that doesn't have to do with the Wild royally screwing up!

30 Thoughts: Hockey socks and safety | Hockey | CBC Sports- This week's 30 Thoughts, which is the origin of the Matt-Cullen-to-Pittsburgh talk. For some supplemental reading, Justin Bourne of BHS has 10 Thoughts on 30 Thoughts. Dany Heatley makes an appearance!

Who tells hockey writers to die in Aurora-like shooting massacres? Pediatric doctors, apparently | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- The Internet: Keeping it Classy Since, Well, Never

Is Alexander Ovechkin still a superstar? | Colin Horgan | Sport | guardian.co.uk- The biggest takeaway from this article is this: Alex Ovechkin's fall is so hard that you can see it from England. Still a good player, but man, I miss this guy.

The Seven Levels of Dirty Hockey - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Considering the source, and the title being oddly familiar with the site's most prominent sportswriter's previous work, I was a bit worried that I'd be treated to a full Simmons column (which used to be a good thing, back in the day. Get off my lawn!). This column was kind of like that, but the lack of opinions from 26 buddies I've never met and don't care about, the acknowledgement of hockey teams other than the Bruins, and not quoting the same eight movies all the time (the only person to have seen fewer movies than Simmons is Ron Swanson, who has only seen Bridge Over the River Kwai, Patton, and Herbie: Fully Loaded)assured me that McIndoe can write a Simmons column without the Simmons smarm. That was a run-on sentence, and I care very little.


Boston Bruins visit Newtown, lend support to Sandy Hook shooting victims (VIDEO) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Can't add anything.

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